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Moving the HE landscape’s quality contours … again

The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.

Government plans mark a seismic shift in higher education policy

Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.

UK universities affirm 'deep commitment' to high quality TNE

Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.

Cassandra calling out higher education

After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.

Whatuni award winners announced

Loughborough University has been named University of the Year for the second time in three years in the latest Whatuni Student Choice Awards .

Welcome to the higher education rollercoaster

UK higher education had more than its fair share of ups and downs over the past week. Charlie Ball, Head of Higher Education Intelligence at Prospects, charts the highs and lows.

Universities must re-think recruitment strategies as rules change on unconditional offers

As the Office for Students places a moratorium on ‘conditional unconditional offers’, Jon Scott, HE consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester, reviews the context of the decision and considers its implications.

Research England names KEF pilot institutions

Research England has selected 21 English universities to take part in a pilot Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which will run between February and May 2019.

The pilot exercise will feed into a raft of evidence, including from a consultation, on how the KEF will operate in England.

Research England says it received an extremely high response rate to a January 2019 call for expressions of interest to take part in the pilot exercise, with interest expressed from every proposed KEF cluster across England. To reflect this exceptional level of interest, it has increased the pilot group from a previously published size of between 12 and 16 institutions to 21. These have been drawn from all of the proposed KEF clusters, and represent a diverse range of English higher education institutions, with a good geographical cross-section of institutions from across the country, it said.

English HEIs not involved in the pilot exercise can contribute to how the KEF could work by completing a survey as part of the consultation, which is open until 14 March 2019.

Research England’s Director of Knowledge Exchange, Alice Frost, said: "We are very pleased with the enthusiasm expressed by the sector to engage with the KEF through this pilot exercise. The high level of interest has allowed us to build a pilot group that includes universities from every one of the proposed KEF clusters and with a wide range of other characteristics. Having a fully representative group of pilot institutions is important to ensure the KEF is a robust and useful framework for universities and other users."

The KEF aims to provide institutions with new ways to understand, benchmark and improve their performance, and to provide business and other users of HEI knowledge with another source of potentially useful information.

Research England will work with the pilot group to test the specific metrics and proposed narrative statements, as well as the cluster membership, and how results should be presented, during a series of workshops between February and May 2019.

The outcomes of these workshops will be published in a report evaluating the pilot, alongside an analysis of consultation responses. Research England anticipates publishing these documents in early summer 2019, with final decisions on how the KEF should progress in 2019-20 in late summer 2019.

Research England published a document detailing proposals for how the Knowledge Exchange Framework could work, for consultation, in January 2019, seeking the higher education sector’s views on the proposals. The proposals set out in the KEF consultation document aim to implement a Government policy priority for the KEF set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017. It is working with various other organisations to develop the KEF, including the devolved funding councils and executive bodies, learned societies, PraxisAuril, the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), the Office for Students, and other UKRI councils.


Pilot participants:


Cluster E

·       Coventry University

·       University of Plymouth

·       University of the West of England

·       Manchester Metropolitan University

Cluster X

·       London School of Economics and Political Science

·       Lancaster University

·       University of Essex

Cluster J

·       Teesside University

·       University of Worcester

 

Arts specialists

·       University of the Arts London

·       Arts University Bournemouth

·       The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Cluster M

·       Solent University, Southampton

·       Cumbria University


Social Science and Business (SSB) specialists

·       Bishop Grosseteste University

 

Cluster V

·       Imperial College London

·       University of Southampton

·       University of Oxford

·       University of Sheffield


Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) specialists

·       Cranfield University

·       Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

 

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